Swiss conductor sells watches

Swiss conductor sells watches


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2022

The incoming conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic, Lorenzo Viotti, is the new brand ambassador for Bulgari.

Press release:

Bulgari is pleased to announce that Lorenzo Viotti is joining the brand’s outstanding family as new global watches ambassador. 
The music director will support Bulgari in spreading its core values among an international audience.
Lorenzo Viotti states, “I am very grateful to start this new chapter with the Bulgari family. Their artistic vision of the future, and respect for traditions are two elements of time that I respect a lot and try every day to practice in my art”.
Viotti, 31, has no excuse for ever being late to rehearsal.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Obviously, this young man sells out, needs the money. Maybe the orchestra doesn’t pay him sufficiently. Or he has been infected with the Dutch trading virus, which makes people think that the only value in life is money and goods. Not the best condition for a musician.

  • Achim Mentzel says:

    Why only, why? He is a quite respectable and good conductor, does he really need this useless PR?

    • Bassohector says:

      I don’t agree. I think he is useless as a conductor (but he looks great in the photos of an orchestra’s promotional material and waves the arms around like a windmill), and needs lots of PR to compensate for his lack of music and technical quality.

      • ruben Greenberg says:

        Maybe now he will be able to read a time signature.

      • Jonathan Sutherland says:

        I fear Bassohector is correct.
        A recent concert Viotti fils conducted with the Santa Cecilia orchestra in Rome of Tchaikovsky, Strauss and Ravel was nothing short of catastrophic.
        He is unlikely to be invited back.
        Perhaps Lothario Lorenzo’s good looks will get him engagements due to slick marketing and pin-up boy audience appeal, but his chances of ever reaching the pantheon of great conductors are thinner than Florence Foster Jenkins’ top C’s.
        Certainly Deutsche Grammophon has jumped onto the sex (or at least ‘sexy’) sells bandwagon in their recent crass CD covers.
        This titillating trend clearly favours more comely conductors such as Vasily Petrenko, Krzysztof Urbański or even Teodor Currentzis in Goth guise over more portly maestros such as Andris Nelsons or Christian Thielemann.
        Perhaps young Viotti will go one step further and like Cristiano Ronaldo, start modelling men’s underwear for Giorgio Armani to boost his career.
        A gym-bunny body obviously has its advantages, regardless of dubious musical talent.
        Such sponsorship would never have been offered to Nello Santi.

        • Marquês de Marialva says:

          Last week, I have watched, horrified, Krzysztof Urbánski slashing Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto. Pure garbage. Leonskaja tried her best, but no chance.

  • Michael W. says:

    Global watches ambassador – this is so ridiculous

    • Micaelo Cassetti says:

      Can’t begin to wonder what Bulgari’s “Core values” are… Massive profits?
      I prefer Swiss chocolate, anyway.

  • HugoPreuß says:

    I love the term “global watches ambassador”. Has some hints of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to it. What a beautiful way to say paid celebrity endorsement! Well, perhaps a “celebrity” in circles who can actually afford and feel the need to spend thousands of Euros on a simple watch. And I don’t even think that most of the potential customers have the foggiest idea who he is. But they see a conductor and associate refinement and high culture with him. Since a sort of famous conductor wears a Bulgari, I should get one myself.

    It is a pity that he feels the need to hire himself out like this.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Bulgari’s core values are exactly what, aside from selling extremely expensive jewelry? And as to the ‘Bulgari family’? Trite PR bullsh*t! Do the Netherlands Philharmonic gain anything from this or is it just this rival YN-S in the roster of eye/ear candy hunks? Still, it will get him a wider invite to the venues that cherish the sort of ‘core values’ that 5 figure $€¥ watches imbue in their audience.

  • Teenager says:

    Clearly there aren’t many sports fans in the Slipped Disc comments section. This stuff is absolutely normal in those sections of the arts, culture and entertainment industry that people actually care about. We should be glad a major brand like this actually thinks classical music is important enough to merit sponsorship.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is not the point. The way in which sponsors engage with the arts institutions, THAT is important. And to have a conductor ventilate this consume speak is just embarrassing.

  • Rob says:

    When the music stopped..

  • Alviano says:

    I remember the Blackglama mink ads: “What becomes a legend most.” I liked them.
    I think it is a good sign that Bulgari thinks a conductor a good model.

  • msc says:

    If he has something he can market, I wish him well. I’m happy to see a classical musician join the actors and athletes.

  • you know I am right says:

    good for him! you all would have liked to have deals and make more! it is for Sportsmen, Pop Artists and…..yes, Classical Artists as well…….as if you would say no to such offer….please……

  • Eric says:

    I wonder what Bulgari’s “core values” are aside from making money.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    You can’t get near the Metropolitan Opera without having a Rolex watch dangled before you. (If you go to their website now you’ll find Le Nozze di Figaro with a Rolex in the image.)
    There was a period last year when every time I went to the cinema I had Martin Scorsese and a bunch of other directors hawking Rolex too.
    No need to get used to this: we already are.

  • Bill says:

    Rolex has sponsored the Wiener Phil for years. And I notice with some amusement that the advertisement served up over this post was for a watch dealer! That of course could be Google’s handiwork, as I have recently watched a few watch restoration videos on youtube.

    Really, this should come as no great surprise. Classical music audiences tend to have a higher than average concentration of the well-to-do; these luxury brands are just “marketing where the money is” to borrow a line from a bank robber (who claimed never to have said it).

    • John Borstlap says:

      The point is, HOW does a sponsor take part in the identity of the performing institution? The Vienna Phil has merely the picture of a watch somewhere on their website but for the rest it is about the orchestra, not about the watches. It is done discretely, no reason to complain, also not for Rolex. But think what the effect would be if Zubin Metha or any such conductor would appear in a Vienna Phil video trying to sell Rolex watches.

      • Colin says:

        Please be reminded that “discretely” and “discreetly” are different words, with different meanings.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Sorry, it’s my fault, I had to type this, and surely meant was discreetly. His pronunciation sometimes leaves something to be wished for!


  • musician says:

    completely useless as a conductor, maybe better as a watch salesman.

    • Martin says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I’ve heard a few concerts with him by now and all of them have been quite disappointing! I really don’t get the hype and can’t understand what serious musicians find in him…!

  • Ernest says:

    Nothing new. Baltsa and Carreras used to sell Swissair tickets in the 80s. I guess in those days Swissair was glamorous!

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      It may have been glamorous but in 2001 Swissair went bankrupt.
      So much for star singer endorsements.

  • CRWang says:

    Bulgaris are great watches. I am wearing one myself. My grandfather sold it to me on his deathbed.

  • Eddie says:

    He’s hot though

  • Paul Johnson says:

    I saw him conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker (as a stand-in) and was quite impressed with the resultant Mahler 3. Lately however, I have seen pictures of him stripped to the waist on Instagram. Completely unnecessary. He has gone down in my estimation. The music is the only thing that’s important. Not beefcake pictures or watches.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Mälzel should have offered Beethoven a Global Metronome Ambassadorship. It might have changed the financial course of classical music history.

  • True North says:

    What a lot of unkind (envious?) comments. I bet he is crying all the way to the bank.

  • Marquês de Marialva says:

    Bulgari should have done their due diligence. He made quite recently a spot for Omega, still endorsing on instagram. Not my money though. Daddy’s boy got the previous job by lobbying, how could he be better than Hannu Lintu is beyond my grasp.

  • Peter Wilson says:

    All the articles are most interesting.

  • Jason says:

    These comments are hilarious. Some people’s definition of a sellout seems to be – someone who’s earning more than them.

    Bulgari make excellent watches and their appeal is the quality.
    Classical music and musicians have always depended on the sponsorship of people and organisations that actually make money. If you turn your noses up at them, or the association with them, you probably haven’t understood who’s actually paying the bills.
    We should be pleased that the art form still has enough appeal to be perceived as being of a similar quality.

    • John Borstlap says:

      This comment shows the problem of classical music in modern society: being seen as something like comsume goods like watches, nothing more. ‘A good watch is exatcly like a good piece of classical music’. It is like thinking that a good quality book is the same as any other good quality object like a pair of trousers or a bike.

  • Kenny says:

    Sorry, but their watches are quartz crap. Not like it’s Breguet or Vacheron or Patek. He shouldn’t be doing this, and his people should know better.

    • Jason says:

      “Sorry, but their watches are quartz crap.”

      Plain wrong. They make many fine mechanical watches.

      Amazing that someone would go to the trouble of leaving this comment without engaging enough brain to at least google their ‘assertion’.

  • Tamino says:

    Bulgari watches are quite ugly, unrefined, pretentious, and do not stand for the pinnacle of achievements in their craft.
    A conductor should identify with nothing but Rolex or Omega when it comes to watch maker endorsements.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      Rolex???? The trinket of choice for poseur parvenus, corpulent Mafia capi, vulgar Russian oligarchs, murderous tinpot dictators or Kiri te Kanawa in her prime.
      Has Viotti’s PR people never heard of Patek Philippe or the non plus ultra of timepieces, Blancpain? Bvlgari is a sprawling fashion and jewelry house, not serious watchmaker.
      Such a choice is akin to Lorenzo driving a Maybach when could have an Aston Martin.

      • Tamino says:

        Hitler also liked classical music. What’s your point?
        (I’m half serious, within all the ridiculousness Lorenzo’s self created online image radiates.)

  • poyu says:

    I think people here are a bit harsh. Many other musicians and sportsmen are also “global ambassador”, that‘s just a term those brands use nowadays. Just google it see how many people hold that title.
    True that he is not P. Domingo nor A. Kraus level yet. It could very much be true that he got this contract more from his looking than from his talent. But so what? You either buy his concert ticket, or the watch, or not.

  • Bonetti Micaela says:

    Clearly using his beautiful body and face to promote himself as a musician.